Arguably the best movie of all time. And yet a blown line? How could I be so bold?
Play it [As Time Goes By] again, Sam. — Casablanca
Wow… that line, blown? Am I way off base here? Arguably the best line of arguably the best movie… blown? How so?
Well, for two reasons.
- The line does not actually appear in the movie at all.
There are two scenes where Sam is urged to play As Time Goes By to recall the Paris romance between the two major characters. Here is the dialog from both scenes:Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.
Sam: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”
… and later…
Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me!
Sam: Well, I don’t think I can remember…
Rick: If she can stand it, I can! Play it!
“Play it again, Sam” has thus entered the pantheon of unforgettable movie lines… even though it was never actually said.
- The song was nearly changed.The film composer – a fellow named Max Steiner – did a very good job on the film. As Time Goes By is, thanks to his score, now indelibly etched in the ears of many a classic movie buff.But he hated the song! He attempted to convince the producers of the film that the song was boring, and that he could write a much better song.
Shame, Mr. Steiner. Shame.
What’s worse… the producers went along with it! They agreed to allow him to write a song to replace As Time Goes By. There were only a couple of scenes that needed to be reshot, and they started the logistical machinery to recall the cast in those scenes to do the reshooting.
Unfortunately… or rather, fortunately… Ingrid Bergman had already moved on to For Whom The Bell Tolls… and she had cut her hair…
The topic of this arguably-best-line of the arguably-best-movie was thus saved by a haircut.